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Select Board Should Not Appoint A Program Detractor To CPC

In 2004 the town of Groton, initially at town meeting then ratified at a town election, voted to participate in the state's Community Preservation Act (CPA).
     By committing to participate in the CPA, residents demonstrated their willingness to pay a supplemental levy of 3% on their real estate tax bills into a town administered CPA fund, the use of which is restricted by state law to projects supporting housing, recreation, open space and/or historic preservation.
     The state supplements each town's contribution through matching revenues generated at the Registries of Deeds. Groton’s match rate, which was initially 100%, has dropped over the years, ranging between 24% and 42% since 2015. It is projected to be about 37% this year.
On December 9 the Select Board met to make an appointment to the Community Preservation Committee (CPC), the local body charged by state law with administering the town's 2004 commitment to participate in the CPA.
     Among the applicants for the appointment was an individual who openly expressed interest in reducing or eliminating the town's participation in the CPA, on the assumption that taxpayers would agree to forego the state match and redirect the equivalent of their 3% CPA levy to fund the operational cost of the town's educational / municipal services and/or special projects such as the building of a new elementary school.
     Questioning whether or not the town wishes to continue to participate in the CPA is a completely appropriate topic for debate.
What is not appropriate, is for a detractor of participation in the CPA to seek to be appointed to the committee that is charged with the only current manifestation of the town's collective opinion, which is to faithfully and responsibly spend state and local CPA funds in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
     Thankfully the Board appointed a well-qualified individual with a documented record of administering CPA funds in keeping with the town’s expressed wishes.
     Those who wish to reconsider participation in the CPA should initiate an open and honest debate about same. The practice of placing detractors that have lobbied against programs in positions of influence within those programs is an all too familiar occurrence today, one that is leading to resentment and an erosion of confidence in the integrity of our government. Let's not allow that to happen here.
Jack Petropoulos
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